Safari tents right on the Russian River are waiting for you at Wildhaven Sonoma. This new Bay Area glamping spot just opened up last month and we had the chance to check it out. Days spent tubing in the Russian River, nights around the campfire and downtown Healdsburg just a short drive away make this spot the ultimate destination for Bay Area families. Read on to find out why it is our rec for your next family glamping vacation.
1. Your tent has everything you need for a comfy night's sleep.
If setting up your own tent is holding you back from camping with your family, this is a perfect option for you. Wildhaven has safari tents with super-comfy queen beds and cots for the kids. Just bring sleeping bags for the cot sleepers (or purchase one from Wildhaven when you book) and you'll be all set. They offer single queen (with the possibility of adding two cots) and double queen tent options. In the future they plan to add larger tents that can sleep up to six people.
Tents include bedside lamps where you can plug in your devices, a fan to keep everyone cool at night, linens for the bed and towels for the showers. Quiet hours of 10 p.m.-8 a.m. are maintained so you won't have to worry about loud neighbors playing music into the wee hours of the night.
2. The property offers the perfect balance of glam and traditional camping.
We especially love how Wildhaven provides a traditional camping experience with the ease of glamping. In addition to communal restrooms and BBQs, you'll find a dish washing station and brand-new showers. Send the kids over to play ladder ball or cornhole on the grass while you get the dinner going. If you go in August or later, look for them to offer cruiser bike and kayak rentals as well.
Future additions (for a post-COVID world) include communal campfires, a camp store, on-site wine tastings, live music, food trucks and other events.
3. Get cooking at your campsite or grab some eats nearby.
It is worth it to book a premium tent site at Wildhaven as each comes with its own fire ring and picnic table. You can even pre-order wood to be delivered prior to your arrival. Bring your own camp stove to set up on one of the picnic tables, or use the communal BBQs to grill up some burgers.
If you are looking for less work for mealtime, downtown Healdsburg is just a 10-minute drive away so you can always grab some eats there to bring back to your campsite. We recommend PiZzando for some tasty take-out pizza, The Wurst for burgers and sausages and Big John's Market for your grocery needs.
4. The Russian River is just steps away from your campsite.
The highlight of a visit to Wildhaven is definitely the super-easy access to the Russian River. Just a short walk from your campsite, you'll find the water shallow enough for little ones with deeper areas for those looking for a more active river floating experience. There's no public access to the river for five miles upstream or nine miles downstream so you won't find the huge crowds that gather at other spots.
5. Make it a day on the river.
Bring your river tubes, water shoes and sunscreen and you'll be set for the day! Tons of minnows swim at your feet in the shallows and bigger trout and bass can be seen in the deeper spots. Kids will also enjoy fishing from the banks of the river in the cool mornings. Three semi-private rock beaches surround the property so there's plenty of room for you to stake out your spot in the sun (or the shade).
6. Activities abound nearby.
If you are looking for other fun activities to add to your stay at Wildhaven, there are tons of options. Spend the afternoon at some nearby kid-friendly wineries like DaVero and Truett-Hurst. Lake Sonoma is just 20 minutes away and it offers more options for on-the-water recreation like boat and jet ski rentals. Horseback riding options are numerous in Sonoma County and there are a few nearby berry and apple picking spots that the kids will love.
7. The price is right.
Wildhaven has a very reasonable price point especially considering all the amenities that are offered. You can book a standard tent for less than $200/night and premium and two-queen tents are just a bit more. You can even bring your doggy friend with you for an additional $25 fee.
8. Bring all the gear.
If you're wondering what to bring with you for your Wildhaven visit, download this camping checklist to get you started. While you won't need to bring your own tent or air mattresses, you'll definitely want to bring flashlights, camp chairs, a camping stove and cooking gear. Tubes for the river, swimsuits, beach towels and water shoes are a must (the rocky river can be tough on tiny toes). A cooler full of refreshing beverages and net for fish catching are also high on the list.
Wildhaven Sonoma is open for business with extensive COVID-19 safety measures in place to make your visit a safe one. They have also updated their cancellation policy to allow for last-minute changes.
Located just off 101 in Healdsburg, Wildhaven is just over an hour north of San Francisco.
2411 Alexander Valley Rd.
—photos and story by Kate Loweth